Exclusive: Romelu Lukaku urges social media CEOs to sit down with players to stop online abuse

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Platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have implemented a number of new measures in recent months, such as limiting who can reply to posts, but star players in both men’s and women’s sports still regularly play find themselves subject to racist, sexist and homophobic abuse, as well as death threats.

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Lukaku believes the time has come for all parties – football players, social media companies and governing bodies – to come together and take responsibility for ending abuse.

“Every team captain, and four or five players, like the big personalities on every team, should be meeting with Instagram and the CEOs of governments and the FA and the PFA, and we should just sit around the table and have a There has to be a big meeting about it,” Lukaku says.


“We can attack it not only directly with the men’s game, but also with the women’s game.

“I think we’re all in this together and just have a big meeting and a conference and talk about things that need to be addressed not just to protect the players, but to protect the fans and the young players. For those who want to become a professional footballer.”

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‘Football is happiness’

Lukaku talking to Granthshala Sport around Chelsea’s launch ‘No to Hate’ photography contest, which is encouraging club fans around the world to send their photos that show the diversity within the Chelsea community and how football can be a unifying factor against hatred and discrimination in any form.
The ‘No to Hate’ campaign was originally Launched back in March Chelsea defender Reece James was found in January after “disgusting and unacceptable racist abuse”.
Lukaku has often faced racist abuse on the pitch throughout his career, most notably during his time with Inter Milan in Italy, and recently told Granthshala that he believes in football. Racism is at an “all-time high”.

However, he says that the constant fight against racism is not what he will ever tire of.

“At the end of the day, football should be a recreational sport,” he said. “You can’t kill the game by discrimination. It should never happen.

“Football is happiness, it is happiness and it should not be a place where you feel insecure because of the opinion of some uneducated people.”

A spokesman for the Football Association (FA) told Granthshala it has contacted Chelsea directly to arrange discussions with Lukaku. “We always welcome conversations with players and others in the game on this important topic,” the spokesperson said.

Similarly, the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) has contacted Lukaku through Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta to organize a meeting and find out how they can work together better.

Lukaku points to the collective spirit in the football world that managed to “stop the Super League in one day” and questions why the same enthusiasm cannot be applied to eliminate abuse from social media platforms. .

“If you want to stop something, you can actually do it,” he says. “We as players, we can say: ‘Yeah, we can boycott social media,’ but I think it’s the companies that have to talk to the teams, or the governments, or the players and find a way out. Have to find how to stop it because I really think they can.”
back in januaryLeading football authorities and governing bodies, including Kick It Out, the PFA, the Premier League and The FA, met with social media companies to discuss how to tackle online hate.

Between January and March this year, Facebook removed more than 33 million hate speech from its platform, including Instagram, of which more than 93% were removed before it was even reported.

“No one anywhere should experience racist abuse, and we don’t tolerate it on Facebook and Instagram,” a Facebook spokesperson told Granthshala. “We remove racist content on sight and respond to legitimate legal requests to help with police investigations.

“We also built the Hidden Words tool to prevent people from seeing this abuse in their comments and DMs, and to encourage everyone to use it. People can also limit comments and DM requests while getting more attention .

“Nothing will fix this challenge overnight, but we are committed to continuing our work with the Premier League and others to help keep our community safe from abuse.”

Twitter did not respond to Granthshala’s request for comment.


In recent years, incidents of racism among Chelsea supporters have, at times, brushed off the fan base with the same brush.

Lukaku says campaigns like ‘No to Hate’ are an important way to show the world that the larger Chelsea community stands against all forms of discrimination.

Lukaku says, “I think right now, from the owner to us, the players, we as a club …

“Because, in our team, we have a lot of players who represent different nationalities, different skin colors, different religions clubs, plus women’s teams where it’s the same thing.

“So I think for us as a club, I think we should be an example to other teams and basically say that, you know, whenever there’s any discrimination, that club is a Taking a strong position and prosecuting whatever is happening. Standing.”

Lukaku rejoined Chelsea in the Premier League this summer, at a time when some teams and players are still taking a knee before matches in a united stand against discrimination.

However, the Belgian forward believes more can be done and questions the effectiveness of the gesture.

“I think we can take a fundamentally strong position,” he said. “Yeah, we’re kneeling, but in the end, everyone’s clapping but… sometimes after the game, you see another insult.”

His sentiments were recently echoed by Chelsea teammate Marcos Alonso, who said the act of taking the knee is “losing a little bit of strength” and is instead deciding to wear an anti-racist message up his sleeve and point out .

Similarly, Chelsea women’s player Jess Carter told Granthshala that she has begun to question why the players are constantly kneeling and whether it is becoming an empty gesture.

“It certainly shows that unity, that we are all still standing and supporting something,” she explains. “But sometimes, I’m like: ‘Are people doing it for the sake of doing it now? Are you doing it because of your manager? [who] Said you should probably kneel down so that you don’t get abused on social media?’

“Part of me is still like: ‘What are we doing for this?’ I’m glad we’re trying to stay united and show that this sport has diversity and it deserves to be here. We have five seconds before a game and try to deliver a powerful message – and we will Wat can be done ?

“I’m glad we do it, but are we going to keep doing it or are we going to keep doing it because it matters? That’s what, to me, is the difference. And when we stop kneeling.” So what happens next? Because racism, homosexuality, everything just isn’t going to go away. So what are we going to do once the knee stops?”


Credit : www.cnn.com

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